Merry Christmas everyone! It’s December which means I can officially talk about Christmas without annoying anyone (disregard my last blog post done in November…whoops). I have recently started an internship which I absolutely love and which has also kept me unbelievably busy seeing as a lot of their fundraising is centered around Christmas.
Drawing on this experience, I’ve decided to share some of the tips I’ve learned about how to make your event as successful as possible. So in no particular order let’s get started!
Excel was a godsend for me when it came to managing the actions already carried out by the fundraising team. It was a great way to make sure businesses weren’t contacted twice (unprofessional or what) and also perfect for clearly showing what still had to be done within the team. As long as you have one document with a list of what has to be done, with what has been completed and what has still to be completed clearly marked to share with your team, you can’t go too far wrong.
It can also be a quick way of updating someone who maybe was off the day before, on what the immediate situation is.
Keep it simple. Maybe make a colour code for certain rows e.g green rows are the activities completed, red still have to be and yellow are ongoing or pending developments.
When possible, use a phone call
I know that I sound really old-fashioned here but I’m a great fan of just a simple call when contacting businesses for support. Maybe you’d love them to provide donations or prizes for your event. Maybe you just want their help in spreading the word. A lot of people would say “Just drop them an email.” Emails are faster. Emails can be a great way of sending extra information on your event like a leaflet or pictures. Emails are also impersonal, easy for them to ignore and impossible for you to track. A phone-call can be a great way of getting an immediate response from your chosen contact. It is seen as more personal and if you are dealing with a local business, can be a great way to develop a strong foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship in the future. ALWAYS get a name, and then you’ll know who to ask for in the case of organising their involvement.
Make use of the other teams as much as you can
Even if you’re only working within a small fundraising team of three or four people don’t ignore the rest of the organisation. It can be easy to be stuck in your little bubble of events planners all working in blissful harmony (apart from the pre-event panic of course) but don’t discount the experience of others. In my case one of the volunteer managers actually had contacts with a local café who catered for her recent volunteer dinner and happened to know they were looking for an opportunity to get more involved with charity. We contacted them and got two prizes to use for our event!
It will come together
And last but not least DO NOT PANIC. I know that a few days before the event it can seem like there’s still so much to do and not enough hands or time or patience or anything. Staring at an excel spreadsheet and seeing all reds (downside of the colour code) can make you want to give up. Just take a few deep breaths and think “What can I do and mark off this list right now?” Focus on what you can fix and do it bit by bit and on the day you’ll laugh at yourself and think what was I ever worried about!
Chloe Peoples is a 2nd year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @ChloePeeps or on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-peoples